teenagers

Link Love Wednesday: Tina Belcher Edition

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Happy Hump Day! The weekend may seem far away, but keep your chin up: it’s a long weekend. :) In the meantime, enjoy this batch of Link Love and hold on tight. Friday will be here before you know it!

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

funny-pictures-selfie-dog-no-filter-makeupA few months back, in honor of my social media addiction, I wrote a little piece about the five profile pictures that every girl has posted, at one point or another, on Facebook. Because I believe in equal opportunity for the genders, I felt that it was high time to poke fun at the males this week! Guys, we know you are all special and unique, but much like the ladies, you too are guilty of falling into predictable social media patterns. :)

This week, we’ll explore five of the most popular types of Facebook profile pictures that most of the guys on your friend list have uploaded.

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

1. Group Photo With All Friends Still Intact.
Unlike the ladies, who tend to crop all of their friends out of group photos, guys are likely to post these pictures to their page as they were taken, no edits. This can prove especially confusing on mobile and online dating profiles, as visitors to those pages may wonder which guy in the picture is actually the man in question, but for Facebook, it makes sense:  guys can assume that their social media contacts will be able to distinguish which person is them!

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2. The Goofy Picture.
Again, unlike many of the young women who use social media, guys aren’t afraid to post a less-than-perfect picture of themselves that shows their sense of humor. This picture is posted without regard for angles or any other artistic properties, and is meant to make you laugh.

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meet-someone-profile-pictures-century-flirting-ecards-someecards3. The Slightly Dressier, More Grown Up Picture.
There’s always one picture of the guy in a suit, at a fancy dinner, in graduation garb or (in true throwback style) on his prom night.

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4. The Significant Other.
From my observations, guys post fewer of these pictures than girls do, but these pictures do pop up from time to time so that the subjects can prove that they are not #foreveralone.

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5. The Picture That Isn’t Him.
Usually, these are memes that fit his sense of humor, but they can also include images related to his favorite sports team or stills from a sci-fi movie or video game that he loves. For many girls, this is a waste of prime real estate, but for the majority of guys, it isn’t that big of a deal. Personally, I have to take a selfie to make up for this every time I see one of these, but that’s just me. :) (Kidding, by the way!)

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Depending on the guy, you may find other types of profile pictures: action shots playing sports, flexing photos at the gym, artsy pictures with crazy Instagram filters… the list goes on. What are your favorite categories?

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Slightly Classier and More Grown Up

No matter where we turn, we are constantly bombarded with new articles about why our generation (mainly teens and twenty-somethings) is lazy, unappreciative, self-centered and the worst thing to ever happen to society. Of course, at 21 years old, I completely resent and disagree with many of these accusations, but I will be the first to admit that (much like the youth of each generation before us), we are known to make mistakes and represent ourselves in a negative way.

As we graduate from college, look for jobs and are released into the Real World, what defines our ascendance into adulthood? I believe in the importance of transitions, which is why I suggest a few little nuggets of advice for being slightly more grown up while you’re still young. I am no Emily Post, so feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Slightly Classier and More Grown Up

1. Don’t put anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want to resurface if you were running for public office.
Similarly, if you wouldn’t want your employer or your family members to see it, then don’t take a picture or video of it. Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to not to do stupid things, but the next best option is to keep it off of your Facebook (or Myspace, if you still live in 2005). Let’s be honest – nobody is judging you for having a social life, but there are still some things that you should keep to yourself, especially in this social media-obsessed world. Not only can sharing the bad things paint you in a bad light, but it can also keep you from getting certain jobs and coveted positions later on.

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2. Read something other than just Fifty Shades of Grey.
By all means, don’t be afraid to indulge in a little E.L. James here and there if that’s what you’re into, but try to be somewhat familiar with some of the classics as well. You don’t have to deconstruct anything the way you did in high school and college literature classes, but it’s a good idea to have a basic framework for some of the stories people are still talking about today. Not only does it make you sound older, but it also makes you sound a little more scholarly and well-read!

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3. Be a gracious house guest.
Don’t be the one friend who shows up to every social gathering empty-handed. Even if all you were able to bring were break-and-bake cookies, the thought will be appreciated and possibly reciprocated in the future.

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4. Thank you notes are a must.
A handwritten thank you note can go a long way. Whether my friend bought me a birthday present or I was just interviewed for a position I wanted, I always make sure to send something to let others know that I recognize the things they do for me and that I appreciate them. Everyone likes to be appreciated, so why not go the extra mile?

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5. Know when to share your opinion.
It’s always good to be able to have a frank discussion with someone about a controversial issue, and to be able to communicate freely. However, sometimes it’s better to sit back and avoid expressing your opinion, especially if it’s going to lead to more conflict than it is worth. One mark of maturity is being able to let go of your own pride to avoid letting an argument get out of hand — in other words, agreeing to disagree. After all, if you and a friend have two strong but very opposite viewpoints about a specific topic, you probably aren’t going to change each other’s minds no matter how much you duke it out, so why not enjoy the other person’s company instead?

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What are some tips you have for being classier and more grown up?

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From Teen Soap Operas

As my not-so-crazy teen years progressed, so too did my love for crazy teen soap operas. Although a few of my friends categorized our favorite TV shows as dramas, deep down we all knew what we were watching: watered down, modernized versions of the stereotypical soap operas that we made fun of the older generation for watching.

Nowadays, these shows provide more for me than mere nostalgic entertainment; rather, each far-fetched plotline has something new to teach us. This week, we will uncover the deeper meanings behind some of these shows, and learn more about the true lessons that teen soap operas have to offer.

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From Teen Soap Operas

1. When you go to a benefit dinner, school dance or any other event that requires formal attire, you are asking for trouble.
Forget the fact that these fancy events seem to take place every week in your town, or the fact that your classmates all own enough evening wear to avoid repeating an outfit. In teen soap operas, whether you’ve gone to cotillion or a save-the-dodo-birds dinner, something bad is bound to happen. Maybe Tori Spelling will get totally sloshed at the prom, or perhaps two grown men will get into a fistfight over a financial dispute. Either way, it is best to avoid these events — it seems all drama will come to a head here.

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2. It is important for every combination of two people in your group of friends to date.
Remember that time when you were in high school and you thought that you and a certain lacrosse star boyfriend would get married? Meanwhile, your best friend dated a loner from the wrong side of town. One day, you fell in love with the lacrosse star’s completely immoral best friend, until he sold you for a hotel, and then you decided to date the aforementioned loner. Your best friend tried a relationship with the lacrosse star when things with the loner didn’t work out, but now her half-sister has gotten to him. Sound familiar? It happened on Gossip Girl, of course, but these dating patterns don’t end here! By this logic, you should take a page out of Blair and Serena’s handbook and date everyone you know.

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3. Every school assignment you ever receive will have something to do with a major theme in your life.
Whether your teacher pairs you up with someone you wouldn’t normally work with, or the book you’ve been reading for class utilizes some kind of symbolism that unlocks a clue to the murder you’re trying to solve, school is important. After all, it wouldn’t get so much airtime if it wasn’t!

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4. There are a lot of awkward ways to respond to an “I love you,” and chances are, you will use at least one of them.
The most common offender is a simple “Thank you,” to which your friends will later laugh and quip, “At least you were polite.” You can also opt not to say anything at all, or you could find an equally awkward way to reply. Teen soap operas teach us that we are all very likely to stick our feet in our mouth when it matters the most, but that we will also fix our situations with a grand gesture within a few days, and all will be right in the world again.

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5. The most meaningful moments of your life should be scored with a delicate balance of indie and pop music.
One would think that the songs on the radio are the most important songs to play on a teen soap opera, but that isn’t always the case. Teens love listening to obscure bands they can brag about later on, so inserting songs by more mainstream-indie groups such as Death Cab for Cutie and Keane allows for a much better transition to ultimate hipsterdom. The next time you’re about to experience a first kiss, I dare you to turn on Somewhere Only We Know. The moment will instantly become more meaningful, and you will become slightly edgier.

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What have you learned from your favorite teen soaps?

Why TV Does Not Glamorize Teen Pregnancy

As many of my readers know, I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie. While I miss the music videos on MTV as much as the next person, I have made do with the wide variety of reality shows the station has to offer (even some of the more embarrassing ones, like Jersey Shore, which has become my guilty pleasure!).

And yes, I will admit, I watch the teen pregnancy shows. Because the original cast of 16 and Pregnant featured girls my age, I thought it was interesting to see how having children affected them and think about how different my life would have been if I had made different choices. Over the years, I kept up with them as they graduated to Teen Mom, and while it isn’t the most groundbreaking show on television, I still thought it was intriguing to see how their lives turned out.

In the time since the shows first began to air, 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have received a lot of criticism throughout the nation. Many people suggest that such programming only glamorizes teen pregnancy and encourages teenagers to have unprotected sex so that they can have the fairy-tale endings they see on TV.

When I hear this, I have to ask: do these critics actually watch the show? Every week when the show airs, the four girls all have to deal with very serious issues: custody battles, financial problems, difficulty balancing school and work and raising a child, decisions relating to adoption, etc. Not one of the girls has it all completely together. Even Maci, who seems to have adjusted the most to teen motherhood, has been in and out of court with her son’s father, and her schoolwork has suffered so that she could care for Bentley. Meanwhile, Amber Portwood endures postpartum depression early on, and faces legal issues of her own.

Maybe it’s just me, but none of those scenarios sound particularly appealing. When I watch a show like this, it makes me think of how lucky I am not to be in the situation myself. Although I am not knocking motherhood and or trying to disrespect teen mothers, I do think that the show demonstrates very well that being a parent is hard. Being a parent when you’re only sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old is even harder. I never doubted that, but when I watch this kind of thing on television, I see challenges I might never have even thought of.

To make matters worse, some of these girls have also had to deal with the pressures of fame on top of teen parenthood. Their every moves are documented in the latest issues of OK! and Us Weekly magazine, and people across the country are judging their actions. Yes, they chose to be on television, but I doubt if any of them expected to have gained celebrity status so quickly.

The show might give some of these girls a leg up in their future careers, but it has never depicted their lives as easy or perfect. Any viewer with half a brain will see the many difficulties the cast faces, and realize that nothing about the show ever promotes teen pregnancy or makes it seem particularly desirable. When I watch shows like Teen Mom, I am thankful for the decisions I have made, and I know that if I were to get pregnant at even twenty years old, the road ahead would not be an easy one.

What do you think about these types of shows?